Metro Last Light, the sequel to 2010's cult hit Metro 2033, sees our hero Artyom return for another set of adventures in a post-apocalyptic Russia where the surviving population live in the city subways.
Having decimated the mysterious Dark Ones at the end of the last game, Last Light
follows Artyom as he investigates their equally mysterious return, all while fending off constant betrayals from the warring factions of the Metros.
The actual plot of the game is a little thin really. The ease of which Artyom is captured by (and subsequently escapes from) almost everyone important he encounters soon starts to feel a little contrived. Artyom himself is a fairly flat character too - mostly mute and blindly following the orders of whoever shouted at him last, regardless of your input.
But Metro Last Light
is made a кусочек more compelling thanks to the brilliant setting, which is far more developed than any of the characters. You’ll get to explore all over the Metro, wandering through everything from military bases to the run-down theatre district.
The story will regularly take you up to the mutant-infested barren radioactive wasteland that is the surface as well, and despite its grim reputation it’s actually quite pretty – in a pale, sterile kind of way. Thanks to flashbacks of Artyom’s memories (or those of others thanks to his vaguely psychic powers) you’ll get quite a few glimpses of the nuclear disaster that left the world like this, and these make for some very cool and visually powerful scenes.
The Russian setting makes for a nice change. I’ve never been a Soviet subway-exploring agent of the law before. The downside here is the resulting voice acting, which features accents that are just all over the place quality-wise and sprinkled with more than enough gratuitous Russian for you to wonder why they’re speaking English anyway.
Artyom’s short narrations that begin each new chapter keep reminding me of Van Damme’s infamous ‘get on my boat’ speech from the Street Fighter
movie. Everyone else’s efforts tend to fall everywhere between Ensign Chekov and the villains from Rocky & Bullwinkle
. It is at least more entertaining than annoying for the most part, though there were a few dialogue-heavy characters whose voices I did find somewhat grating.
Graphically Last Light
doesn’t really push the boat out any further than other games we’ve seen before, but it is very nice looking nonetheless. Where the game really shines (pun not intended, I promise) is in its extensive lighting effects, which both really help establish the tone of different areas and ties into the game’s stealth mechanics.
While you’re in the darkness it’s much harder for enemies to see you, and thanks to a handy watch you’re always informed whether you’re in shadow or not. There’s a fairly good balance between stealth and combat throughout the game and choosing either option is viable in most areas.
If you mess up your sneaking you will have to shoot your way through a horde of enemies. But thanks to a combination of Artyom’s body of iron, a plentiful supply of fast-healing medikits and a somewhat lazy enemy AI that doesn’t like to go out of its way to hunt you down, being seriously outnumbered isn’t that big of an obstacle. Oddly, while you can choose to harmlessly knock guards out instead of killing them, actually doing so makes no difference.
Fighting the game’s variety of mutants is a bit more interesting as they tend to be more aggressive than your fellow man and rely on melee assaults, forcing you to rely on close-range weapons like shotguns or your trusty combat knife. Variety in enemies is something Last Light
does quite well; flying bat-winged demons are some of the more difficult enemies to contend with and some of the underground sections pit you against hordes of light-sensitive spiders.
These fights make much better use of your equipment than human enemies do, the aforementioned spiders needing to be weakened with your torchlight before gunfire will pierce their armour for example, that it’s a weird and disappointing choice for them to be so rare compared to how many Nazis you’ll have to gun down.
is very Bioshock
-like in gameplay, as well as in overall presentation, but differs significantly by stripping of all the awesome plasmid powers and RPG-like customisation. If that sounds a little dull that’s because it kind of is.